A somewhat quieter week this week for the Mix theme set by the kids, which was of course totally understandable with it being Christmas week. Nevertheless there was still a nice collection (or mix) of photos sent in depicting various interpretations of the theme, drinks, food, play, bikes, people, presents etc. I particularly liked the photo above which has all sorts of mix within it, old and new, different styles of architecture, graffiti, rubbish and tidiness. It in many ways encapsulates the jumbled chaos of much of our towns and cities where different styles and periods mix in different states of harmony. I find it fascinating to wander around looking and alternating between wonder and bafflement often in the same street. I suspect that it has always been thus though as society changes and different interpretations on how we want to live and work get built upon the ruins of the outdated / defeated. Where I grew up there is easy evidence of iron age hill forts, then Roman ruins right through to industrialisation engineering features and onwards to glass edifices and everything in between.
That was my take on the mix week but as always I’d love to here what interpretations you liked. As always huge thanks to all who took part. We have one final week which will run through into January but because the week starts in December then we will cover the whole week. Click on the gallery below to open it up so you can scroll through the pictures.
The kids have come up with some really interesting themes for the few weeks of December and kicked things off with Twist and I must admit it put me in a somewhat philosophical mood. When they came to me with the theme I immediately thought of books and the twist in the tale and as I was looking through the bookshelves of course I came across Oliver Twist, not what I was originally looking for but a good take on the theme I thought.
As I was thinking I was shaken by the first photo that came in – a twist in the skeleton from Lyndon. Now Lyndon has recently undergone a pretty horrific accident while out walking in the lake district, he fell, badly injuring himself and there he lay for seven and a half hours waiting, hoping and I’ve no doubt praying to be rescued. Lyndon is an experienced outdoor person so he had left details of where he was going and when he did not return the alarm was raised and Kewsick Mountain Rescue team eventually found him and he was airlifted to hospital. He is now starting the long road to recovery and rehabilitation. I don’t normally ask for donations for anything but for those of us who explore off road in the woods and the hills, on foot or bike the Mountain Rescue and air ambulance teams are our lifeline so if you can spare anything then please consider them. They save lives.
Lyndon’s accident made me think about the subject of twist, a twist in the tale is not reserved for novels, it can happen to any of us at any time none of us really know what’s around the corner. Hopefully it won’t be falling off a mountain but mountains are not just made of rock they exist for many of us in our imaginations and the trials and tribulations that we face in life.
As always there have been some lovely interpretations this week, I’m never sure if people will take part but it’s so nice that people take the time to play along with us. We really appreciate it and once everything is pulled together the gallery looks great. If you click on the gallery you can scroll through the pictures in the size they came through. Do let us know which ones you liked. We’ll be playing #Decemberphotofun throughout the month so check out the hashtag on twitter or follow me @ianstreet67 all are welcome to take part.
Get well soon Lyndon :-)
City centres are, much to my dismay at times, places that seem to exist purely for commerce they are not generally somewhere where you go to play but they are full of all sorts of building, objects and people and so in many ways they are perfect places if you think of them in different ways. Doing the photo fun projects that we do has helped me look at my city through different eyes as I try to interpret the themes set by my kids. I cycle through the city most days which odd as it may sound enables me to turn the streets into my own private play ground, not in the stunt cycling way, but just in the way that cycling instantly transports me back to my childhood.
Today we used the city centre as a different type of playground as we undertook a family scavenger hunt. I’d been chatting to my kids recently about a scavenger hunt I’d done when I was a kid and they liked the idea of this. One of them said could we do one and perhaps could we go into Leeds to do it so this morning we split up into two family teams and standing outside the city museum we were handed our list of things to find that one of my kids had created and set off to see what we could find.
It was a great list, split between photographs of things and objects: The full list was this
We needed to find the following photographs:
- One of the team in front of something that begins with a J
- Something that sums up the best thing about Leeds
- A woman wearing a green shirt
- One of the team in a window
- Something spotty
- The adult of the team in front of a well known building
- Something that is American themed
- Something that sums up the worst thing about Leeds
- The number 82
- One of the team stood on / in front of a statue
- Something beautiful
- One of you with a hand dryer
Objects to collect / find
- A leaf
- A takeout menu
- A receipt with the letter ‘k’ on it
- A sample of a product
- A stranger’s autograph
- A leaflet
- A train ticket
Some of these were relatively straight forward but the task was not just to find and/ or photograph the things but to try and interpret them in the best way we could. I completely loved the variety of tasks we had, some of which asked us to potentially go up and talk to strangers, not something that I (perhaps like many of us) are totally sure of but hey most people are lovely and we got an autograph and photos of women in green shirts. Also by not stopping for the first thing we thought of but keeping that as an option we moved on to better things, the yellow American school bus being a great example. It was so nice to explore the city centre with one of my kids chatting away, getting their ideas for things we could interpret and seeing the city through their eyes as well.
When I asked what photo we could take that best sums up Leeds she simple said this here on Briggate right now, all sorts of people from all different cultures eating all sorts of street food from all over the world. There’s hope for us yet.
I can hugely recommend this as a great way to turn the city into your own playground and have some fun. Feel free to use the list one of my kids came up with and interpret it how you want or come up with your own list – put the kids in charge it’s great fun. Do let us know if you go on a hunt and what you found.
I wrote recently of my new found exploration into night time MTB riding and I was not expecting to write something else on it so soon but last night I was out again and this photo of me and my experience encapsulated in many ways what is so magical about it. A short time before this photo was taken we’d careered / slithered down a muddy field and I was trying to learn fast how to control a bike that was quite frankly moving around all over the place as my wheels skidded and skipped in the mud. I tried very hard to relax, stay off the brakes and feel the movement, letting the front wheel go where it wants and slowly correcting. Trying to do this intuitively and by feel was tricky but I did reasonably well I thought. Plenty to build on and a very interesting experience.
Then after much mirth and a short pedal I looked up and wow, this incredible structure loomed up in front of us. Being pitch black you couldn’t see it until you were almost underneath it. It was a jaw dropping moment. The others who ride the area regularly take it for granted but I thought it was mesmerising. It reminded me of some old mid west American coal or gold mining track and it was really eerie and atmospheric. Apparently we’d ridden over it an hour or so previously on our way out on the ride and it’s pretty cool on the top but approaching it from below in pitch black was just ace.
I must admit that I love bridges, there is something about the concept of reaching out to cross a divide that appeals to me, perhaps because it goes to the heart of human desire for exploration as in “I wonder what’s over there?” but also because bridges link places and help people to connect with one another which I think is a fundamentally good thing. Although perhaps they just remind me of my own mortality, no matter how many bridges I cross, I can’t escape the ultimate crossing from life to death.
All these thoughts and heightened images were whirling around in my head as I pedalled off under the bridge and Rob @chasingsheepMTB took the amazing atmospheric photo above. As I rode under it there was one song that was playing in my head, the brilliant Red Right Hand by Nick Cave, the lyrics to which I’ve used for the title to this post as it was so apt. The track is below if you don’t know it.
I’d heard of and seen a few photos of the The Singing Ringing Tree (designed by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu) and was quite enamoured by the idea of this wind powered sculpture up on the moors above Burnley so took a trip over to have a look on the weekend. It’s described as a Panopticon which is apparently a structure providing a comprehensive view which it certainly does over the town below and across to Pendle Hill, a twist on the panopticon prison design which has a concept of all prison cells being able to seen by one guard in the middle without the prisoners knowing who is being watched. The tree is part of a series of similar sculptures around the area including the Halo, Atom and Coloufields.
It’s an unusual structure, individual metal tubes, some with slits in allowing the wind to play sounds. On the day I visited it was just a faint whisper but I can imagine that it would sound pretty eerie when the wind is blowing. I liked that as you moved around the sculpture it takes on different shapes and conjures images…. an alien spaceship or a metallic ostrich head were two that came to mind and I particularly liked the way that despite all of the individual pipes being straight the way they have been put together reveals some interesting curves.
Overall I rather liked the Singing Ringing Tree and next time I’m over that way will have to take a detour to see the other panopticons.
The kids chose Contrast as the theme for half term week and I was immediately thinking to myself what a contrast it was that we were in half term already as it seemed only last week the kids were getting ready to go back to school after the summer holidays and of course our #summerphotofun. It got me thinking about all the contrasts that we have in our everyday world as we go about our lives and the fact that they are (for me anyway) everywhere. A small one relevant to this post is the contrast between what I might see in my eye and what appears on my screen when I attempt to photograph it. Occasionally this works the other way when something on the screen takes me by surprise but that’s rare compared to the other way around.
What struck me looking at the photos that people sent in was how much contrast there is around us but that how beautiful it is. Beauty is not something that perhaps first springs to mind when you think of contrast as it perhaps goes better with compliment but some of these photos buck that notion for me: the simple red mug amongst a sea of white, the autumn colours, a carpet on a wood floor, new and old, stillness amongst activity. Look closely at these pictures and there is a real beauty to behold (perhaps apart from lettuce and gravy). I absolutely loved the photo of the person sat on the pavement reading a book, totally in a bubble while all around people are chatting and laughing.
The photo at the top was taken by one of my kids on their phone at the recent Leeds Light Night and gives a pretty good example of contrast as the city hall is illuminated with stunning visual projections which stand out against the blackness of the night sky. Light Night is an amazing thing that happens each year in Leeds and is a perfect example of a good contrast when the whole of the city centre changes it’s normal Friday night characteristics and becomes a family friendly playground.
Me and the kids have been doing our photofun themes during the various holidays for a couple of years now and really enjoy and it’s humbling that other people join in and make it such fun. Thanks to all of you who have taken part this time it’s really appreciated. We’ll probably do #DecemberPhotoFun over the 4 weeks so follow me @ianstreet67 on twitter if you don’t already to pick up the themes. We might throw in the odd random #weekendphotofun as well along the way.
Click on the gallery below to open it and scroll through the photos in the correct size they came in.